[Dixielandjazz] language usage - "sprung"

Bill Gunter jazzboard at hotmail.com
Thu Feb 13 07:10:31 PST 2003

Hi All,

I asked what was wrong with the following sentence: "He sprung on the DJML 
his advice for dealing with the virus problem."

Charlie Hooks answers:

>Simplicity itself.  If he speaks in the simple past tense, then he speaks 
>the simple past tense: "sprang."  No question about it.
>I'm sorry, but what's the problem here?  Why is this (seemingly) so
>difficult for contemporary writers?  It never has been in the past.
>Can it be simply that no one any longer teaches the declinsion of verbs?
>What the hell ARE they teaching now?

Well, Charlie, here is the definition of the verb "to spring" as given in 
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. 
2000 - I call to your attention the usage provided in example #5 in the 
section headed "Transitive Verb."


INTRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To move upward or forward in a single quick motion or 
a series of such motions; leap. 2. To move suddenly on or as if on a spring: 
The door sprang shut. The emergency room team sprang into action. 3. To 
appear or come into being quickly: New businesses were springing up rapidly. 
4. To issue or emerge suddenly: A cry sprang from her lips. A thought 
springs to mind. 5. To extend or curve upward, as an arch. 6. To arise from 
a source; develop. 7. To become warped, split, or cracked. Used of wood. 8. 
To move out of place; come loose, as parts of a mechanism. 9. Slang To pay 
another's expenses: He offered to spring for the dinner.

TRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To cause to leap, dart, or come forth suddenly. 2. To 
jump over; vault. 3. To release from a checked or inoperative position; 
actuate: spring a trap. 4a. To cause to warp, split, or crack, as a mast. b. 
To bend by force. 5. To present or disclose unexpectedly or suddenly: "He 
sprung on the world this novel approach to political journalism" (Curtis 
Wilkie). 6. Slang To cause to be released from prison or other confinement.

-----> end quote from dictionary

Now one might argue that Patrick Cooke's usage "I sprung for the 15 bucks . 
. ." is entirely correct in the sense listed above (Transitive verb - 
definition 5).

Furthermore, all of this may be moot because Patrick may have been (and most 
likely was) speaking colloquially in which case his usage was appropriate 
even if it was not grammatically precise.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill "And I haven't even cited usage in Ebonics" Gunter
jazzboard at hotmail.com

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